FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2020, file photo, debris at the scene where a Ukrainian plane crashed in Shahedshahr southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran. Iran has retrieved some data, including a portion of cockpit conversations, from the Ukrainian jetliner accidentally downed by the Revolutionary Guard forces in January, killing all 176 people on board, an Iranian official said Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2020, file photo, debris at the scene where a Ukrainian plane crashed in Shahedshahr southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran. Iran has retrieved some data, including a portion of cockpit conversations, from the Ukrainian jetliner accidentally downed by the Revolutionary Guard forces in January, killing all 176 people on board, an Iranian official said Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)

Iran retrieves data, cockpit talk from downed Ukraine plane

Plane had just taken off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport when the first missile exploded

Iran has retrieved some data, including a portion of cockpit conversations, from the Ukrainian jetliner accidentally downed by the Revolutionary Guard forces in January, killing all 176 people on board, an Iranian official said Sunday.

That’s according to a report on the website of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, which described the official’s remarks as part of the final report that Tehran plans to issue on the shootdown of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752.

The development comes months after the Jan. 8 crash near Tehran. Iranian authorities had initially denied responsibility, only changing course days later, after Western nations presented extensive evidence that Iran had shot down the plane.

The shootdown happened the same night Iran launched a ballistic missile attack targeting U.S. soldiers in Iraq, its response to the American drone strike that killed Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on Jan. 3.

At the time, Iranian troops were bracing for a U.S. counterstrike and appear to have mistaken the plane for a missile. Iran, however, has not acknowledges that, only saying that after the ballistic missile attack, its air defence was sufficiently alert and had allowed previously scheduled air traffic to resume — a reference to the Ukrainian plane being allowed to take off from Tehran.

The Ukrainian plane was apparently targeted by two missiles. The plane had just taken off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport when the first missile exploded, possibly damaging its radio equipment. The second missile likely directly struck the aircraft, as videos from that night show the plane exploding into a ball of fire before crashing into a playground and farmland on the outskirts of Tehran.

For days after the crash, Iranian investigators combed the site, sifting through the debris of the plane.

The head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, Capt. Touraj Dehghani Zangeneh, said on Sunday that the Ukrainian passenger plane’s black boxes have only 19 seconds of conversation following the first explosion, though the second missile reached the plane 25 seconds later. The report quoting him did not elaborate.

He said the first missile explosion sent shrapnel into the plane, likely disrupting the plane’s recorders. He did not reveal any details of the cockpit conversation that was retrieved.

Representatives from the U.S., Ukraine, France, Canada, Britain and Sweden — countries whose citizens were killed in the crash — were present during the process to gather data from the recorders, Zangeneh said.

In the months since the downing of the plane, Iran has struggled with the Middle East’s largest and deadliest outbreak of the coronavirus. The Iranian government is also grappling with both crushing U.S. sanctions and vast domestic economic problems.

Last month, an initial report from the Iranian investigation said that a misaligned missile battery, miscommunication between troops and their commanders and a decision to fire without authorization all led to the fatal downing of the jetliner.

That report said the surface-to-air missile battery that targeted the Boeing 737-800 had been relocated and was not properly reoriented. Those manning the missile battery could not communicate with their command centre, they misidentified the civilian flight as a threat and opened fire twice without getting approval from ranking officials, it said.

Western intelligence officials and analysts believe Iran shot down the aircraft with a Russian-made Tor system, known to NATO as the SA-15. In 2007, Iran took the delivery of 29 Tor M1 units from Russia under a contract worth an estimated $700 million. The system is mounted on a tracked vehicle and carries a radar and a pack of eight missiles.

The initial report did not say why the Guard moved the air defence system, though that area near the airport is believed to be home to both regular military and bases of the paramilitary Guard.

It also noted that the Ukrainian flight had done nothing out of the ordinary up until the missile launch, with its transponder and other data being broadcast. The aircraft’s black box flight recorder was sent to Paris in June, where international investigators have been examining it.

“Data recovery activity was all done with the aim of safety and preventing similar incidents,” Zangeneh said, adding an appeal against “any political use of the process.”

He added that Iran’s airspace is now “safe and ready” for international flights.

Nasser Karimi, The Associated Press

Flight 752 crash in Iran

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BGC Cranbrook will renovate a facility to relocate 24 existing spaces and add 24 new spaces with support from the Trust. Photo courtesy Columbia Basin Trust.
Grant funding to help create new childcare spaces in Cranbrook

Columbia Basin Trust providing $10,000 to BGC Cranbrook to help renovate new facility

Earlier this spring, the City of Cranbrook started positioning components of the Stormceptor system to carry storm runoff to Elizabeth Lake from the Innes Avenue neighbourhood. Photo submitted
Stormceptor will bring clean run-off to Elizabeth Lake

The City of Cranbrook is installing new infrastructure to handle the Innes Avenue neighbourhood, but go easy on Elizabeth lake

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Interior Health hospitals not strained by rising COVID case counts

While provincial hospitalizations rise, health care systems in the B.C. Interior remain robust, say officials

A section of Highway 93/95 between Eager Hill-Fort Steele Road and Cambellmey Rest Area was reduced to a single lane following a “vehicle incident” Thursday afternoon, April 15. Photo submitted
Vehicle incident near Fort Steele closes lane of traffic

A section of Highway 93/95 between Eager Hill-Fort Steele Road and Cambellmey… Continue reading

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after being recorded making comments to a DTES harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Sarah Blyth/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Police officer convicted of uttering threats under B.C. watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to civilian Sarah Blyth

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

B.C. Premier John Horgan greets Lt. Governor Janet Austin's dog Macduff as she arrives to present the throne speech at the B.C. legislature, April 12, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of B.C. residents have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Since April 4, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Vancouver the largest source of domestic flights with COVID-19 cases: data

This month alone, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived

Most Read